Biblical Entheogens: a Speculative Hypothesis. Psychology Professor Benny Shannon speculates that Moses may have been tripping when he saw God on Mount Sinai. [Via Mind Hacks.]
On November 24, 1874, Joseph Glidden was granted patent number 157124. The invention decribed within is the subject of striking images, body art, and painfully bad movies. Yet, the history of barbed wire is interesting enough to warrant multiple museums.
The evolution of Mars imaging from orbit: Mariner 4 (1964), Mariner 6 and Mariner 7 (both 1969), Mariner 9 (1971) (all NASA), Mars 5 (1973) (USSR), Viking 1 (1975), Viking 2 (1976), Mars Global Surveyor (1996), Mars Odyssey (2001) (NASA), Mars Express (2003) (ESA), up to this spy-quality shot of an active avalanche taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (2005).
History's greatest replies. Any attempt to compile history's greatest replies—or history's greatest anything, for that matter—is fraught with difficulty, so it might be more accurate to refer to the replies that follow as simply my all-time favorites.
A collection of comic books, Amar Chitra Katha is like the American Illustrated Classics, except that the stories are from Indian sacred texts, mythology, history, folktales and legends. It was conceived by Anant Pai. The series has sold over 86 million copies of about 440 titles. [more inside]
Jeffrey Lewis brings you The Complete History of Punk Rock and Its Development on the Lower East Side (1950-1975) in eight and a half minutes. [more inside]
Physical Review Letters' 50th anniversary retrospective promises to be an interesting survey of the physics landscape for the past half-century.
Canal Zone Images is a collection of stories and images about the Panama Canal Zone. Did you know that the construction workers were paid in gold and silver ('spiggoty' dollars)? "Paper money was not used on the pay car at all. In the first place, there was always a danger of its blowing away, and in the second place paper money in the hands of negro workmen soon assumed a most unsanitary condition." [more inside]
The International Institute of Social History was founded in 1935. It is one of the world's largest documentary and research institutions in the field of social history. From their collections: Secret Societies: Documents and illustrations of Freemasons, Jesuits, Illuminati, Carbonari, Burschenschaften and other putative secret societies and clandestine organizations.
Webcasts from the Library of Congress. Hundreds of recent public programs from the Library of Congress, from Indian Religious Freedom, to Litigate or Legislate? to End of European Colonial Empires, to Robert E. Lee, to 1507 Waldseemuller World Map. Other topics include Performing Arts, Education, Government, World Affairs, Literature, Religion and Science. [more inside]
Nine experienced cross-country skiers hurriedly left their tent on a Urals slope in the middle of the night at around -30 degrees Celsius for no obvious reason, casting aside skis, food, boots and most of their clothes. Soon they would be dead, some with injuries more suited to car crash victims, and apparently dosed with radiation. Their deaths are still unexplained, 49 years later. The Mystery of the Dyatlov Pass Accident. [more inside]
Physicist Howard Wiseman has a hobby, history. On his website he has three history subsites, filled with lots of information: 1) Ruin and Conquest of Britain 2) 18 Centuries of Roman Empire 3) Twenty Centuries of "British" "Empires". Especially informative are his many maps. As he says himself: "Drawing historical maps of all sorts has been a hobby of mine since my mid teens. Now I can do it digitally, and inflict it upon the world!"
A History of Evil. A beautiful animation, from Zeus to Elvis to Bin Laden.
Texas Beyond History is a comprehensive web site covering the last 10,000 years of human occupation of (what is now called) Texas. A small section of the site was previously posted on Metafilter. via archaeolog.
Arthur Ashe's words and legacy. Arthur Ashe (1943-1993) was the first (and only) black man to win Wimbledon, the Australian Open and the US Open tennis tournaments and a very vocal civil rights activist and leader. Last week on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show, Brian had on Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe[embedded audio player] and they were remembering a moment on Martin Luther King Day 1993, when Arthur called into the show from his hospital room (he died three weeks later). His views from Martin Luther King, Malcom X, Muhammad Ali and the 1966 and 1992 Los Angeles riots are at once eloquent and riveting.
The first drive-in movie theater was opened on June 6, 1933, by salesman Richard M. Hollingshead in Camden, N.J. On the bill was a twilight showing of the British comedy Wife Beware. And so the drive-in era was born, peaking in 1958 with almost 5,000 theaters in the U.S alone. These days you'd be hard pressed trying to find one but thankfully there are plenty of handy lists online telling you just where to find one (there's even one for Aussies like me!). And that's not all we have to be thankful for; the drive-in scene is apparently witnessing something of a "mini-revival" at present. Don't feel like going out? Then why not make your own? First you'll need instructions on how to build one. Then you'll need intermission-advertisements (you can download or even just watch heaps of them for free here). And then you'll need a handy list of the kinds of films they used to show at the drive-in. If you're in the US, you'll need to know some of the special rules the FCC has for drive-ins, and if you have any more questions, I'm sure the fine folk at the United Drive-In Theater Owners Association could help. All of this sound like too much work? Then just sit back and check out the videos and photos on this nice site (it's about drive-ins, of course!).
During a January blizzard thirty years ago in Chicago, Ward Christensen and Randy Seuss came up with the idea for a computerized bulletin board system. One month later on February 16, 1978, the first public online community was officially established, and it was named CBBS. [more inside]
The 5 Most Badass U.S. Presidents of All-Time. Just in time for Presidents' Day weekend. In ascending order of badassitude: Andrew Jackson, John F. Kennedy, John Quincy Adams, George Washington and your number 1, Theodore Roosevelt. [more inside]
Atomic Platters :: Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security
The Power of Photography (might or might not be NSFW) with accompanying articles: Stricken Child crawling towards a Food Camp  | The Falling Man  | The Youngest Mother  | Born Twice  (via)
witness the strangest customs of the red, white, brown, black and yellow races ... attend their startling rites, their mysterious practices ... all assembled for you
The Secret Museum of Mankind :: "Published in 1935, the Secret Museum is a mystery book. It has no author or credits, no copyright, no date, no page numbers, no index ... The tone of the commentary is dated, and uniformly racist in the extreme, often hilariously so. It reads like the patter of a carnival sideshow barker, from a time when the world was divided between "modern" Europeans and "savages" ... Presented here is the Secret Museum in its entirety, all 564 pages scanned and transcribed-- nothing is omitted or censored ... Treat it as entertainment instead of education (don't take it seriously and don't believe a word it says!), adjust for the blatant racial bias of the time, and enjoy."
Canadian artist Kate Beaton draws wonderfully expressive comics which she publishes variously on her website and her LiveJournal, Hark! A Vagrant. In December 2007 she asked her readers to suggest historical figures and promised to draw comics based on the first twenty submissions. Highlights of the resulting series include Mary Shelley, Genghis Khan, and yes, even Søren Kierkegaard. [more inside]
Ron Murphy cut records, but not just any records. Responsible for cutting the actual vinyl master plates of much of the now revered Detroit Techno including Jeff Mills, Carl Craig, Underground Resistance's seminal Knights of the Jaguar, and much more - he demonstrated impeccable craftsmanship and skill in both mastering records for sound and aesthetics at company known as Sound Enterprises source link AKA National Sound Corporation. Schooled in Motown, dubplates and jukeboxes, he is the bespoke-crafted, analog link between the digital future and analog past that is the roots of Techno music and modern techno DJ culture. [more inside]
British Movietone News - Digital Archives :: Apparently complete archives of the UK Movietone Newsreels from 1929 - 1979. Free registration required. Uses Quicktime. Beware of many lost hours ahead. Via DaddyTypes
Free Speech Doesn't Mean Careless Talk! World War II posters from the US Merchant Marine at War. More posters (Rivets are Bayonets, Drive them Home). There's lots of other cool stuff, like this brief history of privateers during the Revolutionary War.
Famous, infamous, and interesting World War I draft cards, including The Bambino, Groucho, Moe, Satchmo, Scarface, and Sergeant York. [more inside]
Glimpses of South Asia before 1947 1,150 illustrated pages by the world's leading Ancient Indus Civilization scholars 774 photographs, postcards, lithographs, engravings, and archival film of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka before 1947
The of Battlefields and Bibliophiles blog has a fun quiz. Check your knowledge of American Civil War battlefields by guessing which battleground is featured in the Google Earth images. Answers here. [more inside]
A new look at race through three lenses: History, human variation and lived experience. Be sure to check out some of the quizzes, notably White Men Can't Jump and other assumptions about sports and race. [via SpoFi] A product of the American Anthropological Association.
Answers Research Journal is a new "professional peer-reviewed technical journal for the publication of interdisciplinary scientific and other relevant research from the perspective of the recent Creation and the global Flood within a biblical framework." Current Volume. Call for Papers.
Marshall ("Major") Taylor was the first black American to be crowned World Champion in any sport, ever. Care to guess the sport? In 1899, he set the world one-mile track record in cycling (and repeated his win in 1900 and 1901. His legacy continues today with an association, a society, a foundation, cycling clubs, and a velodrome. [more inside]
The Top Ten Things Environmentalists Need to Learn Unfortunately, many of those who claim to be working for environmental improvements lack an understanding of a few basic concepts which are absolutely critical to accomplishing anything. The idea that it is nessisary or honorable to make sacrifices to save this planet are overly simplistic and lack a true understanding of the forces at work. To use a phrase I have come to like, they are “Not even wrong.”
People with a History is "an online guide to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans history." Ranging from the first stirrings of civilization to the modern day, People with a History gathers together original sources and academic articles dealing with queerness throughout history. To give you a feel for the wealth of material on the site, here are a few pages that caught my interest: The Vikings and Homosexuality, Coptic Spell: Spell for a Man to Obtain a Male Lover, an acount of a gay marriage ceremony described by Michel de Montaigne, But Among Our Own Selves (an 18th Century gay ballad), a chapter from The Life of St. Theodore of Sykeon, a 7th Century Byzantine monk and bishop, which mentions adelphopoiesis, or the rite of brothermaking, Wu Tsao, 19th Century Chinese lesbian poet, and finally Polari: The Lost Language of Gay Men.
Art Images for College Teaching is a searchable, browsable collection of 2,027, well, art images for college teaching, and appears to be mainly the personal collection of Art Historian Allan Kohl (previously on MeFi), and thus represents his interests and specialities, not to mention the variable quality of his photographic skills. Rather strong in Ancient and Medieval, especially architecture, but tapers off as you become more distant from Europe or closer to the 20th century. Nice sets include the Lion Hunt from Ashurbanipal, Iraq; the exterior sculpture of Chartres; and grave stele.
The Scots voice of the Spanish revolution [Embedded DivX video 1hr15m; also downloadable] Ethel MacDonald was a young working class Scots woman who hitch-hiked to Barcelona to do her part in the war. There she became the English-language voice of the anarchist movement as a radio station announcer. Newspapers at home dubbed her the "Scottish Scarlet Pimpernel" for her role in helping comrades escape the crackdown that followed the May Days. Her remarkable story is told in this recent drama-documentary.
Edward Samuel's Illustrated History of Copyright A fascinating illustrated historical tour, looking at how different technologies have shaped how we think about copyright and intellectual property.
Club Little Gun, a bunch of tiny guns built into things from rings to crosses. Eat your heart out, Indiana Jones, the whip pistol. via [more inside]
The biggest tourist attraction in Buenos Aires is a cemetery. El Cementerio de la Recoleta is the final resting place for some of Argentina's most illustrious and wealthy residents. (Yes, Evita is among them.) AfterLife explores the architecture, motifs, and history of this cemetery, as well as the stories of its residents. [more inside]
Saddam's Confessions - Given Saddam Hussein's central place in the American Consciousness over the last couple decades and particularly in recent years, I found 60 minutes' interview with FBI interrogator George Piro pretty fascinating.
The Japanese National Archives have a nice set of late 1930s, pre-World War 2, civil defence posters, created in response to their hostilities with China: General Air Raid Defence; Blackout Control; Fire Protection; and Gas Attack. via Airminded, an excellent blog on "Airpower and British Society 1908-1941, mostly." [more inside]
"The "American Intervention in Northern Russia, 1918-1919," nicknamed the "Polar Bear Expedition," (wikipedia) was a U.S. military intervention in northern Russia at the end of World War I." The ostensible purpose was to open an Eastern Front following the Russian withdrawal from World War I, but in practice the unit stayed to fight Bolshevism. An archive of the expedition, which gives wonderful insight into early Bolshevik Russia as well as war-weary United States, is online. [more inside]
Cornell University and the University of Michigan collaboratively present two sites on the "Making of America" (Cornell Site; Michigan Site), together including over one million pages of 19th Century American books and periodicals online. At this Cornell page you can browse or search some well-known, full-text periodicals including: The Atlantic Monthly 1857-1901; Harper's 1850-1899; Scientific American 1846-1869; Putnam's 1853-1870; and The Manufacturer and Builder 1869-1894. From Michigan, you can browse less well-known journals, including American Jewess 1895-1899; Ladies Repository 1846-1871; and the Journal of the United States Association of Charcoal Iron Workers 1880-1891. warning: frames abound [more inside]
'Race' graphically illustrated - "most Europeans" vs. Ashkenazim (previously; see also IQ & Gladwell, viz. ;) [more inside]
This epic battle scene from Zulu was great cinema, but wasn't quite accurate historically. [more inside]
New England's Lost Ski Areas. The Northeast used to be littered with mom-and-pop-size ski areas, many of which have been consolidated into huge resorts, while others fell to development or just passed out of existence. This site serves as a repository for information, images, and reminiscinces. Links to other region's lost ski area sites, too. [more inside]
Sacred Destinations. Nearly every culture in human history has sought to encounter and honor the divine, the mysterious, the supernatural or the extraordinary in some way. This most often occurs at sacred sites - special places where the physical world seems to meet the spiritual world. From ancient wonders, to Greek temples, to Biblical sites, and everything in between, the website has a vast collection of photo galleries and maps. The website's founder also maintains a travel blog and posts recent pictures on Flickr. [more inside]